NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – Kenya’s hope of having a female beach volleyball team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been dashed after the government halted the release of flight tickets for the team to head to Abuja, Nigeria for the qualifiers which were to serve off on Thursday.
According to the Kenya Volleyball Federation boss Waithaka Kioni, the Ministry of Sports said there is a directive from the Ministry of Health to limit official travels for teams or officials to countries which have confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“For the qualifiers, it is the government that releases tickets and when we went to the ministry, we were told that there is a directive from the Ministry of Health over travels to countries which have a confirmed case of the virus,” Kioni stated.
He added; “It is for the safety of the players and sadly, their Olympic dream is absolutely over. There was a very good chance of them qualifying.”
Kioni has also confirmed that DR Congo and Cape Verde have also confirmed that they will not travel to Nigeria, leaving the hosts and Zambia as the only two contestants.
Kenya was to be represented by the duo of Gaudencia Makokha and Braxedes Agala as well as Phosca Kasisi and Yvonne Wavinya.
Meanwhile, Kioni also says they are waiting on the government to know whether or not the men’s team will be allowed to travel to Gambia for the men’s qualifiers or not.
“We hope that no confirmed case will be reported in Gambia then hopefully we can get tickets for them but we are still waiting to see,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Kioni, who is also Kenya’s chief de mission for the Tokyo Olympics hope that the virus will be contained in time so that the games can go on.
“We are in touch with IOC and there are a lot of agencies which are closely studying the situation. It is too early to make a call whether or not to cancel the games so we may have to wait till the end of May and see what the situation will be like,” he said.
He added; “There is uncertainty yes but we remain hopeful.”